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Ray Bolger Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (13) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 10 January 1904Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 15 January 1987Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameRaymond Wallace Bolger
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ray Bolger was born Raymond Wallace Bolger on January 10, 1904 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Anne C. (Wallace) and James Edward Bolger, both Irish-Americans. Ray began his career in vaudeville. He was half of a team called "Sanford and Bolger" and also did numerous Broadway shows on his own. Like Gene Kelly, he was a song-and-dance man as well as an actor. He was signed to a contract with MGM and his first role was as himself in The Great Ziegfeld (1936). This was soon followed by a role opposite Eleanor Powell in the romantic comedy Rosalie (1937). His first dancing and singing role was in Sweethearts (1938), where he did the "wooden shoes" number with redheaded soprano/actress Jeanette MacDonald. This got him noticed by MGM producers and resulted in his being cast in his most famous role, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Surprisingly, even though the film was a success, Bolger's contract with MGM ended. He went to RKO Radio Pictures to make the romantic comedy Four Jacks and a Jill (1942). After this, Bolger went to Broadway, where he received his greatest satisfaction. In 1953, he turned to television and received his own sitcom, Where's Raymond? (1953), later changed to "The Ray Bolger Show". After his series ended, Bolger guest starred on many television series such as Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Fantasy Island (1977), and had some small roles in movies. In 1985, he co-hosted the documentary film That's Dancing! (1985) with Liza Minnelli. Ray Bolger died of bladder cancer in Los Angeles, California on January 15, 1987, five days after his 83rd birthday.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Donovan Webber

Spouse (1)

Gwendolyn Bolger (9 July 1929 - 15 January 1987) (his death)

Trade Mark (2)

His rubbery dancing style
His iconic role as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Trivia (13)

Great-uncle of actor John Bolger.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6788 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
He was always closely identified with the Scarecrow. He once guest starred on the game show Password All-Stars (1961). When the word "Ray" came up, he said to his partner "Me!". His partner readily answered "Scarecrow!".
Following his death, he was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Was the last surviving cast member of The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Won Broadway's 1949 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Where's Charley?", a role he recreated in the film version, Where's Charley? (1952). He was also nominated in the same Tony Award category in 1962 for "All American".
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 115-116. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Made his first Broadway stage appearance in 1926.
Bolger was among those entertainers who opened Manhattan's famed Radio City Music Hall on December 27, 1932. After the management realized that the public's taste for vaudeville had waned, it cut back on the live entertainment and supplemented it with movies.
He was a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.
He was posthumously awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California on January 10, 1998.
Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame (1980) and the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame (2015).
Despite persistent web rumors, Ray was born Raymond Wallace Bolger, and the family's surname was never "Bulcao". His father, James Edward Bolger, was the son of Raymond Bolger and Maria Mahoney. His mother, Anne C. Wallace, was the daughter of William Wallace and Joanna Hassett. All of his grandparents were of Irish origin.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939)] I knew that I was taking part in a strange kind of adventure.
[When asked how much money he made from the repeat showings of The Wizard of Oz (1939), he and his wife often responded] No residuals, just immortality.

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